Posts Tagged ‘Chautauqua’

CFS: Wonders of the World

Chautauqua literary journal is now accepting submissions for its 2014 theme: Wonders of the World.  Submissions of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction will be considered until November 15.  Chautauqua has now also added a new section for “Young Voices” which considers work from writers who are ages 12 – 18.  Take a look here for complete guidelines.


The Authors Among Us Event

This Sunday, I will be taking part in Chautauqua’s The Authors Among Us program, an event that is designed to celebrate writers who have taken classes from the Writers’ Center at Chautauqua.  Since there are many of us involved in this program, I will only be reading one poem from Wearing Heels in the Rust Belt, but I will be selling copies.

If you are on the Chautauqua grounds, stop by the Literary Arts Ballroom from 2 pm – 3 pm.  Then stay to listen to the writers of the week:  Poet Mary Slechta and Prose writer Nancy McCabe.

Fighting Fruit Flies and Other July Notes

No, I did not melt into a puddle during our mini heat wave we had in the middle of the month.  Instead of melting, I spent a good part of July battling fruit flies.  I have no idea where these pesky fellas are coming from, but they are everywhere.  One flew into my cup of coffee this morning. Bleck.

I also spent a lot of July catching up on my reading. (I now only have two boxes of unread books instead of three).  I sent out quite a few submission packets, although I have found that during the summer, journals that are open to submissions are slow in responding (and I don’t really blame them), so for the last few weeks it feels like I have had a one-sided conversation with the poetry world.  I did receive some good news, however.  Special thanks goes to Justin Hamm and the editorial staff at the museum of americana for honoring my poem “How the People of Woods County, PA, Lost the ‘G’ in Drinkin” as a 2013 Best of the Net Nominee.  You can stop by here to read the other nominations.

The weather did cool down a bit this week, just in time for another great week at Chautauqua, where I took a workshop with the lovely Kim Todd, who is the author of such great books as Chrysalis: Maria Sibylla Merian and the Secret of Metamorphosis.  Regular readers of The Scrapper Poet know that I have been dabbling a bit with prose, and Kim’s workshop was geared toward nature writing, or more specifically how the personal essay blends nature writing.  Although I would not call myself the next Annie Dillard, I did come out the workshop with four good starts to individual essays! More importantly, however, I feel excited about writing again.  In many ways, I have a hit a wall with poetry, and I think I need to take a break from my own work — never fear, however — I am not taking a break from poetry reading!

CFS: Journeys

I may be saying goodbye to the summer, but I’m not saying goodbye to ALL of the summer activities quite yet!  Chautauqua,  the official  literary journey of the Chautauqua Institution, is now open for submissions. Past contributors have included Todd Davis, Neil Shepard, Jim Daniels, and Jan Beatty.  Journeys is the theme for the 2013 issue.  The editorial staff will be receiving submissions until November 15th. See the guidelines here.

Heat Wave

I don’t have to tell most of my readers that it has been hot, hot, HOT! Rumor has it that thunderstorms and a mini cold front are supposed to move through the area today and cool things down a bit.  I hope so.  I have a hard time writing when my fingers stick to the keyboard.

This past week I drafted two poems.  I’m also preparing to take a class with Marjorie  Maddox at Chautauqua.  I’m rather excited about working with Marjorie — I discovered her work some time ago when I picked up a book she edited (along with Jerry Wemple) titled Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania.  Many anthologies come and go from my bookshelf, but this particular title is here to stay.  The focus of her workshop?  Poetry of place.  Yep, one of my favorite subjects!

Hello, July!

Exactly six months ago, I made a New Year’s Resolution to try to get 100 rejections in the year 2012.   This, of course, would mean that I would write more and submit more.  In fact, I wanted to submit to at least 10 journals a month.  For those of you who readily follow my blog, you know that I have struggled with this goal, and this past month has been no exception.

Since the year is half over, I should have about 50 rejections (and 50 dollars in my rejection jar!)  But I’m not even close. As of today, I have 18 rejections.  I don’t want to dwell on rejection count, but this resolution has made me learn a lot about my own writing process.  I’m not a fast writer.  Yes, it’s true that I write everyday, but the writing comes in different forms including working on revisions and writing reviews.  I’m also my own worst critic.  I worry about everything from putting commas at the end of endstopped lines to writing the same poem again and again.  While I never want to send out junk, I should probably not worry so much about the little things.

So, with all of this said, it’s on to July!  To be honest, all I want to do today is take a nap.  Why?  This past week, I spent an exhausting, but fulfilling week, as the professor in JCC’s Young Writers’ Studio where we visited Chautauqua listening to different literary speakers including Billy Collins, Meg Wolitzer, and Dame Julie Andrews.  Yes, you heard that last name correctly.   Apparently, Julie Andrews is still very popular with teens my students’ ages.  Who would have thought that Mary Poppins would still be so famous!

I’m looking forward to returning to a more regular writing schedule where I will have time to revise the bits and pieces of poems that are piled in my journal.

Where is June Going?

I’m sorry to say that this may be the summer of little to no blogging!  Next week, besides finishing up my creative course, I will be teaching a Young Writers Studio at JCC.  In conjunction with teaching, I will also be spending the week back at Chautauqua listening to various writers including Norman Lear, Meg Wolitzer, and Billy Collins.  More good news: I actually have drafted two new poems in the last few days.  Hopefully, when June is over, I can take a close look at my drafts and my manuscript and dedicate July to finishing my collection.

The Week Ahead…

I always have trouble adjusting to real life after I come home from a writing retreat or a conference.  It’s like getting a taste of some sort of utopian world — where you have unlimited time to write and study and socialize with others who love the written word as much as you do.  I also admire those who can summarize their travels in a concise manner.  I feel like I ramble when I try to write about any type of writing festivities. 

Still, as always, (this is the fifth time I have attended the Chautauqua Writers’ Festival) the weekend was a blast.  A few highlights include meeting up with my old mentor/professor Judith Vollmer, listening to Martin Espada’s reading which included one of my favorite poems of all time, “Alabanza” and learning about the work of nonfiction writers Valerie Boyd and Natalia Rachel Singer. 

It’s actually Singer’s work I’m thinking about this morning as I type this post.  At her reading, Singer spoke about her most recent project, a blog Winter With Zoe,  that chronicles a year with Zoe, her dog dying of cancer. I’m paraphrasing what she said just a bit but she opened her reading with these words: “If you love a pet, you are destined to get your heart broken.”  I’m not sure why I’m thinking of her words this morning.  It’s a gray sort of day outside.  The rush of the conference is over, and real life is settling in.  I think it’s because her blog is uplifting, encouraging us to live as a pet would live, and that is to live in the moment, not worrying so much about the future.  I know that my own mind is always going 100 different directions at once, and most of the time, it’s thinking about the future — tomorrow’s class, next week’s writing seminar, Sunday’s poetry reading, Thursday’s car inspection, today’s doctor’s appointment — the list goes on and on, and that focusing on the here and now is a much happier and healthier place to be.

Off to Chautauqua

This morning I leave for the beautiful Chautauqua Institution to attend the annual writers’ festival.  I’m leaving technology behind, taking only a notebook, lots of pencils, and a poetry book or two.  (Okay, okay, I will have my cell phone for emergencies, but you have to understand, my cell phone is simple and ancient.  Believe it or not, I really only make phone calls on my cell phone!)  Thus, emails will go unanswered and student papers will go unread.  I’m looking forward to the weekend.

Dreaming of Chautauqua

This winter has brought us “unseasonably warm temperatures” with little to no snow.  Today, it’s sunny outside, and I’m even thinking of getting my bike out of the garage to take a quick spin around the block.  This morning, I swear I heard a robin (although I haven’t seen any robins yet!)  In short, with weather like this in February, it’s easy to dream about summer.  And it’s easy to dream about Chautauqua.

This year, the Chautauqua Writers’ Festival will be held on June 14 – June 17.  There’s a great lineup of writers including poets Martin Espada and Judith Vollmer.  Judith was my advisor and professor when I was an undergraduate at Pitt Greensburg, and I can’t wait to see her again! 

The regular summer sessions look great too!  Poets Marjorie Maddox, Patricia Jabbeh Wesley, Jim Daniels, Gabriel Welsch, and Julia Kasdorf will all be conducting workshops throughout the summer.  Take a look here for more information.

I know that most people who come to Chautauqua are local (Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York), but the prices for both the festival and the workshops are very reasonable.  If you are looking for a fantastic writer’s vacation, consider trying one of these sessions!

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